Stressed or Depressed? Know the Difference

How do you know if you are stressed or depressed?

Occasional stress can be good for motivating you, for example when there’s a looming deadline. There are many stress-inducing situations in modern life. However, if ongoing stress begins to wear you down, it can be internalized, and can cause problems in other areas of your daily life. Chronic stress can affect your overall physical, mental, and emotional well-being. If it is not addressed, normal environmental stress can turn into an anxiety or stress disorder.

Stress and depression go hand-in-hand. But clinical depression is more serious and long-lasting than feeling down due to stress. Depression is defined by its persistence, meaning it’s not something you can just snap out of by yourself. The symptoms can be much more intense and significantly affect your mood  long-term. For most people, when identified clinical depression is highly treatable.

Given their similarities how can you tell the difference between stress as a normal response to situations, and a stress disorder or clinical depression? You may ask yourself “am I just really stressed, or depressed?” especially if you have had a history of anxiety and/or depression. Here are some signs to help you distinguish between normal stress and depression:

Common Signs of Stress:
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Problems with memory
  • Problems concentrating
  • Change in eating habits
  • Feeling nervous or anxious
  • Feeling angry, irritable or easily frustrated
  • Feeling burned out from studying or schoolwork
  • Feeling that you can’t overcome difficulties in your life
  • Trouble functioning in class or in your personal life

Reducing Stress

If you are stressed out, there are many good ways to get relief. You could have a hot cup of tea, go for a run, spend time with friends or loved ones, or read a book. Yoga classes are also a great stress reliever!

Common Signs of Depression:
  • Withdrawing from other people
  • Feeling sad and hopeless
  • Lack of energy, enthusiasm and motivation
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Being restless, agitated and irritable
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Sleeping more or less than usual
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble with memory
  • Feeling bad about yourself or feeling guilty
  • Anger and rage
  • Feeling that you can’t overcome difficulties in your life
  • Trouble functioning in your class or in your personal life
  • Thoughts of suicide

Depression Treatment Help

If you think you might be depressed, contact a physician immediately. Depression can quickly spiral out of control, so it is best to discuss treatment options as soon as possible. Our team of caring doctors at Delray Beach Psychiatrist can help you to feel better and regain your happiness. There are now a number of effective treatments available for depression, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and therapeutic Ketamine infusions.

Dr. Raul J. Rodriguez

Dr. Raul Rodriguez


Existing patients, please text 561-409-7296 for follow-up appointment requests or if you have medication concerns please text 561-409-7296.